Alumna launches weapon for peace: education

Mujda Amini (BA economics, political science ’01) believes education is a way to achieve peace in the world. And she believes it enough to act — by raising funds to build libraries in Afghanistan.

Her first library will go up this summer in the small, rural town of Chooqdakh, Afghanistan, where nearly 200 children will get their first taste of all that a library has to offer.

Amini, who has a long-term goal to work for an organization that promotes literacy in Afghanistan, is raising money from foundations and individuals to fund the effort. She hopes it’s the first of many libraries she’ll build in rural Afghanistan to promote education and peace in the region.

“At this point, I don’t have a set number in mind, but if this project is successful, I’d like to build libraries in some of the remote locations throughout Afghanistan where … educational resources are very limited,” Amini says.

Amini was born in Afghanistan and she and her family came to the U.S. 19 years ago as refugees. She says she still has a strong emotional connection to the region.

“Growing up as a Muslim girl, my childhood could have been quite different had my parents not been as progressive as they were,” Amini says. “I was encouraged to get an education and pursue a professional career. Unfortunately, I’m not in the majority; many of the children born in Afghanistan are not encouraged or even allowed to attend schools.”

This spring Amini will earn her master’s degree in international monetary theory and financial policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

An internship last year earned her a coveted position at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. After graduation she will begin the Federal Reserve’s two-year professional development program, where she’ll work in several divisions of the bank to learn about financial systems, tools and regulatory policies.

During the past two years in New York, she tutored middle school students from poor families in language, math and science.

At the University of Denver, Amini was a Johnson Scholar, awarded by the chancellor to students who exhibit high academic standards, overcome obstacles, have financial need and show a commitment to community service.

“She’s one of the best students I ever had,” says Spencer Wellhofer, a professor in DU’s political science department. “She’s just a fantastic person and I’m not surprised she’s helping Afghanistan in this way.”

Those interested in contributing may e-mail Amini at

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